The Ambassadors

The Ambassadors (1533) is a painting by Hans Holbein the Younger in the National Gallery, London. As well as being a double portrait, the painting contains a still life of several meticulously rendered objects, the meaning of which is the cause of much debate. It is also a much-cited example of anamorphosis in painting.

The Ambassadors

The astronomical instruments on the top shelf are shown in greater detail here:

Click to see full size

The instrument on the right is a torquetum

The small instrument in the middle front is a multi-faced sundial

Any suggestions for the other instruments?

Update:  A detailed article about the instruments in the painting from the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

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1 Response to The Ambassadors

  1. Hazel Edmunds says:

    And I go to look at the original as often as I can – meaning about five or six times a year. Forget the symbolism – just enjoy the painting.


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